The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: Welcome to Nastyville

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Nightmare in Nashvegas
Season 12 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Nightmare in Nashvegas
Season 12 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Bravo

To: Mr. Moneybags Vulture III
From: Dame Brian Moylan, President and Founder of the Housewives Institute
RE: My Salary

Dear Mr. Vulture, as the owner and cheap executive officer of Vulture Website and Ramen Emporium LLC … Oh, sorry. As the owner and chief executive officer of Vulture Website and Ramen Emporium LLC, I am writing to inform you that what you pay me to recap the Real Papa Gino’s of Cherry Hill Township is no longer sufficient. I have accepted my payment of a free membership to the website, unfettered use of a Carvel ice-cream black card, and early access to shirtless photo spreads of James McAvoy for far too long. I am now going to require hazard pay for all future RHONJ recaps.

Now, Moneybags … Can I call you Moneybags? Now, Moneybags, you might be asking why I will need this raise, the only one I have ever asked for in my near decade of service as a Real Housewives chronicler and sympathizer. That is because of the damage that one Teresa Giudice is doing to my intellect, sanity, and goodwill. I feel like my years of covering her on this show have given me the reality-television equivalent of whatever happens to football players that makes their brains ooze out of their noses after too many tackles.

I’m sure you will need some examples to provide to HR when you inevitably approve my very reasonable request. Just look at this most recent episode. It begins with the Bravo Television Network trying to gaslight me (well, all of its viewers) with a very loving scene where Teresa moves her and her four daughters out of the onyx expanse that we saw her once spend $120,000 in cash trying to furnish. Unbelievably, someone bought the house but also this furniture. It must be someone with a fine-stone-and-fake-antique fetish.

We see all the memories of Teresa and her family lovingly using the space, we see them tearing up at the memories they are going to miss, but there is no mention of Teresa’s jail sentence, her husband going to prison, or any of the crimes she has committed against decency and intellect. They want us sympathetic to Teresa. They want us to love her when her behavior, from start to finish, has been as lovable as a beeping Tamagotchi. I am much more enamored with Frank Catania moving back into his ex-wife’s house to live with his adult children. I don’t know if that is because Frank is a reasonable person or whether the squeals of his daughter’s pet chinchilla seem to be the same as the adorable giggle of his son, amateur bodybuilder and professional gay crush object Frankie.

Not only was I bamboozled by this moving scene, but I was also then flabbergasted when she pulled up to her new house and it is — and I swear, Moneybags, this is the truth — exactly the same as the old house. Just like the old place with metal wings sprouting out of carbonite on the front door, this one looks like a fake castle at an off-brand Disneyland. This is a place meant for fake princesses and people who want to behave like them. It looks like a really ornate IHOP or the library of a third-tier state university.

As infuriating as it was to see her new chalet inexplicably full of giant Buddhas like it’s Valerie Cherish’s yoga room, it’s even worse that we have to suffer through an entire season where Teresa is increasingly showing the signs of NeNe Leakes Syndrome. You may be unaware of this condition, but it has proved terminal in several Housewives, most of them of the OG variety. Symptoms include believing the show revolves entirely around them, increased isolation from castmates, headache, the refusal to participate in group events that were already preplanned by production, dizziness, thinking that there is no way the show could go on without them, nausea, insurmountable irritability, rectal bleeding, losing the interest of long-term fans, and owning far too many cowboy hats that happen to be bejeweled.

In this episode that you made me suffer through with only a Fudgie the Whale to keep me company, Teresa’s sister-in-law Melissa “Missy G” Gorga explains it perfectly. “I don’t know why Teresa doesn’t get along with all of my friends,” she says. “It’s super-annoying. It always puts me in a spot.” Since you are not fluent in Housewives’ language, you need to read a little bit between the lines. Melissa is saying that Teresa can no longer get along with anyone on the cast (i.e., “my friends”), but Melissa finds it quite easy because she is a chill and normal person. However, Teresa demands blind loyalty from everyone in her life, including Melissa, so Melissa can’t say that Teresa is being unreasonable to all of these women, so she has to go along with whatever cockamamie bullshit Teresa concocted to stay on her good side rather than speaking the truth.

When the entire cast later arrives at their destination in Nashville, we become aware of exactly what cockamamie bullshit Teresa has alighted on. She claims that because all of these revelations keep coming up about her fiancé, Luis Ruelas, a man whose skin tone is the same as a pair of distressed white jeans washed with a red thong, Margaret must be the one planting these items in the press.

Teresa reveals this to Jackie, and she immediately tells Teresa it can’t be true and it is a conspiracy theory. Any rational person would be on Jackie’s side. (That said, any rational person would not turn down her hunk of a husband’s request to “see the luggage” just because she had her hair done.) What does Margaret have to gain from coming after Teresa’s man? Why would she be the one leaking these stories to the press? There is no way Teresa is getting booted off the show. Is Margaret just out to embarrass her?

Most of the revelations — his creepy video that was posted to Facebook, the numerous lawsuits alleging his abuse, the lawsuits about his business — are all in the public domain. Margaret doesn’t need to tell bloggers to dig for these things. She doesn’t need informants in her DMs telling her the scoop. This is just intrepid gossip reporters doing their due diligence and filing FOIA requests. Not only is that not as complicated as rocket science, but it’s also not even as complicated as the garlic bread recipes in Skinny Italian.

Teresa keeps saying that “Margaret started all of this.” No, Teresa started this by dating Luis, and the press looked into him. She might be upset that reality is trying to pierce her love bubble, but Margaret is not to blame — Teresa’s fame is. Margaret is just the pigtailed scapegoat. In fact, I think that bringing these things up to Teresa and trying to get her and her fiancé to address them was doing Teresa a solid. Margaret knew that whether these issues came up on the show, they would still dog the couple in the press. But if they are willing to talk about them on-camera, they have a platform where Luis can give his side of the story. Not only that, he could give his side of the story without dissenting voices providing what is most likely the much darker reality of why there were these allegations in the first place.

All of the women counsel Margaret not to bring up her issues with Teresa. They just want to have a fun time in Nashville riding the mechanical bull and drinking out of an enormous goblet that seems to have an entire bottle of Stoli upended in it. When they sit down to dinner, Teresa snidely tries to bring the conversation around to Margaret talking to the press. She tells Teresa that she has not been doing what she is accused of, but Teresa continues to escalate the argument. When Margaret calls her a “disgusting liar,” which isn’t entirely inaccurate, Teresa doesn’t flip a table like in her most famous scene; she just throws all the glasses and drinks on the table in Margaret’s direction. It’s a shame because wasting alcohol is actually a capital offense in Tennessee and she will be killed by being dangled from a rope by one leg and slowly lowered into a vat of barbecue sauce. As I’m sure you know, Moneybags, you don’t mess with Texas, but you don’t bend a knee with Tennessee.

I am requesting hazard pay because I feel my IQ dropping as Teresa is led out of the dining room shouting about how Margaret is a “white trash C-slur” and saying that Margaret started it. Um, Teresa brought it up, pressed the issue, and instigated the fight. As Frank Catania tells us, this was entirely Teresa coming after her. I don’t mind a good fight on Real Housewives. I don’t mind two sides arguing over who is right and wrong. But when the entire plot revolves around something that Teresa made up and how she reacted poorly by bringing up something she made up, there is nothing interesting to talk about. The linchpin of the whole scene is stupidity. Over time, exposure to that kind of lobotomized thinking will make me about as dumb as the premise of The Ultimatum.

Yes, it wasn’t very nice when Margaret told Teresa, “At least you’re not on parole anymore,” but it was accurate and, well, it was the one giggle I got out of the entire episode. It shows that Margaret can think up a joke and, unlike some people, she can argue. Teresa’s problem is that she can’t argue and is used to being deferred to. Since she can’t argue, she instead gets violent, and that leads us nowhere except Margaret having a stain on her dress that, shockingly, looks exactly like Luis’s face.

To make it even crazier, Teresa leaves the restaurant and goes back to the McMansion in Nashville where they’re all staying, which looks exactly like the McMansions they all left behind in Tenafly, puts on her pajamas, and then leaves for a hotel. This is only hours after demanding the primary bedroom, now she can’t even sleep there because she can’t stand to be around Margaret. Yes, Teresa can’t stand to be around a person she started a fight with, and we all have to pretend that these women are on a level playing field. That’s like saying a fleet of Porsches is the same as a rusty Oldsmobile Cutlass that someone fished out of a lake with a body still in the trunk. It is dumb and making me dumber, and since I can no longer be smart, I might as well be rich, Moneybags. Ya dig?

As a result of all of this, I will require at least $1 squillion or an NFT of a GIF of Luann de Lesseps’s Eggs à la Française recipe, whichever is easier to deliver to my door.

Thanks for your attention, and I look forward to our next transaction.

Dame Brian

The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap